As the Fringe is over and the masses of tourists have gone away, Edinburgh can often feel almost like a ghost town during September. Even though students are back for the new academic year, the month often carries the energy of a transitional period from summer into autumn. We will be seeing more of the iconic foggy castle views as fog covers the streets later in the month and those autumn walks will feel extra refreshing. However, even though the busy festival season is over, there are still plenty of outstanding highlights during the coming month. Check out our take on some noteworthy things to do this September.
1. Watch Scottish and international films at this pop-up cinema in Leith
Cinema on the Shore will be coming to the Custom House square on Dock Place between September 17 and 18. Both Scottish and international films that explore the seaside communities and folklore will be shown on a giant outdoor screen with affordable or free access. You can catch animated shorts and documentaries, as well as family friendly Oscar-winning pieces with comedies, dramas and thrillers to suit every taste. Some highlights include Life of Pi, The Life Aquatic and the family-friendly animation Song of the Sea. Just go with the flow and explore the myriad of films offered during this pop-up by Cinescapes.
Immerse yourself in this multi-sensory cosily dimmed musical experience at a unique venue. The Caves is the sub-structure of South Bridge and offers an enchanting peek into 18th Century Edinburgh. One of the vaults used to be known as Whiskey Row, as it was stored to the brim with whiskey. Can you get any more Scottish than that? Lost for over a 100 years, The Caves have been rediscovered, and now you can watch a soulful Candlelight Concert tribute to Beyoncé in the UNESCO World Heritage Site. A string quartet will be performing hits such as Single Ladies, Halo and Survivor and you can enjoy an evening of perfect bliss. We are crazy in love the entire experience!
3. Dive into a massive ball pit at this wonderous bar
Sometimes, you’ve just got to let your inner child run free – and handily, one of the best ways we’ve found to do that has just arrived in Edinburgh – and it’s called Ballie Ballerson. The premise is simple; you take a menu full of sweet-inspired drinks (try the ever-popular Skittles Sour, made with pink gin, limoncello, and Skittles) and add two giant ball pits, into which you and the squad can dive, swim, chill, or chuck the balls around. There are over one million balls across the two ball pits, so you know they’re not messing around. Ballie Ballerson is open on Forrest Road, in the site of the old McSorley’s Irish Bar, where it’s spread over two floors and is now ready to welcome up to 300 ballers.
4. See an open-mic stand-up comedy show at The Stand
Just because the Fringe is over, doesn’t mean there aren’t any things to do in September and we cannot still enjoy comedy shows. Every Monday, The Stand comedy club hosts Red Raw: an open-mic night where anyone can sign up. It will be the first time on stage for some of the acts, as well as more seasoned performers trying out new material. The event is considered the best open-mic night in the UK and you will have a great time no matter what. The entry is only £5 so do book in advance since it gets busy. So, Red Raw is where you can watch the stars of tomorrow start out in the comedy scene.
5. Visit The Upside Down at this Stranger Things themed bar
Fellow geeks, rejoice: The Cocktail Geeks has transformed their themed bar into The Upside Down, and we’re up for some dark, boozy fun. As you walk through an arched doorway of this bespoke bar, you are transported into another world: a world full of imagination, wonder and, nonetheless, alcohol. The Cocktail Geekshave literally done that by transforming their bar into The Upside Down. During September, you can sip a Stranger Things Themed out-of-this-world cocktail at the Edinburgh Arches. Enjoy boozy I-Scream floats, dark twists of 80’s cocktails and hard shakes while immersing yourself into the dark kingdom of Vecna, and meet some of the beasts in flesh.
6. Immerse yourself into the pages of fiction at the Paddington: Marmalade Messiness family friendly adventure
The charming Peruvian bear – in all his blue duffle coat and marmalade-sandwich-smuggling delightfulness – has officially unleashed his signature shambolic chaos on Edinburgh. Paddington Marmalade Messiness is open at Dalkeith Country Park, but closes on September 4, make sure you round up the family and visit the picturesque palace grounds for an immersive outdoor adventure while you still can! You’ll encounter everything from puppetry to live performances as you live out your very own Paddington story. Over the course of 50 minutes, you can get stuck into the search and enjoy a host of fun activities, puppetry and performances that truly bring the story to life. Plus; when little legs get weary or your kids need to refuel their bear-finding brains with a creative break, they can swing by the Activity Area for colouring in, dot to dot and all sorts of competitions. You can get your tickets here while the adventure is still running.
7. Go on a wee day out in South Queensferry
South Queensferry is a land of the Forth bridges, nice views and is a definition of a great wee day oot further away from the city. Witness the Forth Bridge, a railway bridge that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and wander around the village discovering quaint coffee shops and cute charity shops. For the true breakfast enthusiast just like us, book a table at Scotts (as it’s always busy) for sensational eggs benny or cinnamon and banana pancakes. Witness the ships go by sitting by the water, or pop in for a meal with a view at Orocco Pier. At Port Edgar Marina, water sports lovers can also partake in water activities such as sailing and boating. And if there wasn’t enough walking for the day, cross the Forth Road Bridge on foot into North Queensferry.
8. Eat sushi and teppanyaki at this top-rated Japanese fusion spot
There isn’t a Japanese place in Edinburgh with better reviews than Chizuru Tei in Haymarket. According to recent visitors, it is the ‘best sushi they have ever had’ and some described it as the ‘best Japanese restaurant outside of Japan’. It opens back up from the 21st of September, so why not see it for yourself at this cosy food joint with colourful wall art. The menu is reasonably priced and is the dream for Japanese cuisine lovers. Start with warming up your heart with miso soup and work your way through the myriad of sushi options. For something other than sushi, the Teriyaki chicken teppanyaki or a Teriyaki salmon ramen will surely bring you back to a time in Kyoto where you’ve stumbled upon a soulful local food joint. Oh, and they have green tea ice cream! That has surely brought me back to a time in Nara when I got chased by a deer after the said ice cream.
9. Rummage away at the Edinburgh Vintage Kilo market
On September 18, Out of the Blue Drill Hall in Leith will become the mecca of sustainable fashion. Vintage lovers will get the chance to rummage for their new favourite pieces, and the best part is that it will be charged by the kilo! It is one of the most affordable and sustainable ways to shop, so you could even treat yourself to a brand new wardrobe if you looked hard enough. For £20 per kilo, fashion lovers can fill up a bag of pre-loved goodness. Each rail is divided into product type categories, like shirts or sweatshirts, jackets or T-shirts and is continuously restocked throughout the day. There is also no minimum or maximum spend, meaning you can buy as much or as little as you desire. You can pre-book a ticket for a speedy entry here, or you can pay £2 to enter at the door. Admission is also free between 3 and 4pm.
10. Grab a mind-blowing dinner at Michelin star Chef Tom Kitchin’s newest restaurant
A sister restaurant to the famous Michelin star restaurant The Kitchin, KORA by Tom Kitchin has recently opened in Bruntsfield and has already proven to be a hit. With affordable prices and quality food, the neighbourhood restaurant serves a seasonal menu made of locally sourced ingredients. The menu is ever-changing, so you might get to try different meals whenever you visit. As autumn is creeping in, so are new menu options. For now, start off with the hand dived Orkney scallop ‘à la Grenobloise’ that is warm, soft textured and flavoursome, served in three massive shells. For the main, opt for the braised Highland Wagyu shin in beetroot and green peppercorn sauce with Koffmann’s skinny fries for one of the best wagyu you’ve ever had, and finish off with the Floating Island that is this marvellously delicious marshmallow-like dessert floating in a sauce that will take you to another world.
11. Enjoy a serene pint at The Shore in Leith
While the weather still permits, out of all the things to do in September, enjoy some time outside and go down to The Shore for a splendid beer garden. With a wide array of pubs and restaurants with outdoor seating, the choice is endless. We love Teuchter’s Landing for its authentic feel and ample outdoor seating right by the water. As one of the best beer gardens around, it also offers comfort food and a traditional Highland pub setting. On top of a sweet selection of beers, Teuchter’s Landing also offers an extensive whiskey list if whiskey’s more your vibe.
12. Marvel at the awe-inspiring views near Swanston Village
The Pentland Hills are only a short drive away and offer some show-stopping views. The trail near Swanston Village and Swanston Golf Course is not only easy to get to for both drivers and non-drivers, but also presents views of both Edinburgh and The Pentlands on the other side. The hike is a little bit steep and takes around two hours to complete, great to bring your furry friends along and spot some Highland coos. If you don’t drive, make your way on the bus to Swanston Morrisons and walk over towards Swanston Golf Club. Start the trail in the car park where you will follow the path through the tiny traditional village that will lead you further up into the hills. While there are people who go running up and down those hills for fun, others will be feeling their legs for a week after this hike. But the verdict is clear: good views require some pain!